This may seem obvious, but my tip for this week is, before traveling, write a list of the things you need to pack. A written list really helps you get organized the night before the big flight/car ride, and is essential the morning of when you are running around crazy trying to finish up last minute packing, turning down the heat, locking the doors, and making sure the oven is off (something Travelin' Dad makes fun of me for because I have to do like 12 times). I've thought about trying to keep a master-printed list (since it seems like I pack some of the same things for each trip), but I've decided it's better to write down a new list, from scratch, before each trip. Things like the destination, whether you are staying with family/friends, weather, and the activities you have planned really affect what you need to pack, so create a fresh list for each trip. I'm sure you'll come up with a system that works for your own family, but here is how I organize my list:
- Diaper Bag: Bottle of milk, snacks, snack trap, bib, emergency pacifier, straws, a few diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, blanket, froggie (TJ's lovey), and table toppers.
- Travelin' Mom's Carry-on: Books, activities for plane, extra change of clothes for TJ, Travelin' Mom's wallet, and cell phone.
- Travelin' Dad's Carry-on: Trip documents, DVD player, battery, lots and lots of Elmo's World, more books, Travelin' Dad's new iPod (he says it's to transport TJ's lullabies, I say it's so he can chill out on the plane while Travelin' Mom constantly engages TJ), iPod speakers, digital camera, and cell phone.
- Suitcase for all three: (putting TJ's in a smaller bag inside the massive suitcase, so his stuff is together) Essentials for TJ include a favorite toy or two, sound machine, crib sheet, appropriate clothes for the particular destination, and his shaving kit (no, he doesn't shave, but he does need his toothbrush, comb, Ibuprofen and dropper, nail clippers, thermometer, and baby wash).
Just as my Mom taught me, I cross off each thing once I have it packed. I circle the few things that I can't pack until last minute (like TJ's milk). That way ,the morning of the trip, I can quickly see the final items that need to be packed. This gives me plenty of time to yell at Travelin' Dad that he isn't moving fast enough before we get out the door (I wish I was kidding, but I'm not). Hey, traveling with a kid can be stressful! But the list can help relieve a bit of the pre-travel jitters.